HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Authorities zeroed in on a St. Louis Heights home this week suspected of operating as a brothel.
The duplex on Kalaepohaku Street was raided by the city Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.
No arrests were made, but the investigation was sparked by complaints from several neighbors.
“Very frequently late at night, (there’s) noise on the street, cars parked all over the place. Yeah, I’m not happy," said Tom Scarlett, who lives two doors down.
The Prosecutor’s Office said evidence showed that the illegal activity may have moved to the home after a massage parlor on Queen Street in Kakaako was previously shut down.
They cited text threads on adult Internet sites where massage parlor customers were directed to the St. Louis Heights home.
“I parked by the St. Louis back gate and rode my e-bike up," wrote one patron.
According to acting Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Nadamoto, it’s the city’s first-ever prostitution raid in a residential area.
“Neighbors were alarmed," said Nadamoto
“Strange men were showing up at the property at all hours of the day and night. As news of the business spread, anger in the community intensified. People wanted us to respond, and we have.”
Officials said they believe the suspected illegal activity has stopped.
The Prosecutor’s Office is issuing nuisance abatement warnings to massage parlors and relaxation spas believed to be operating as a cover for prostitution.
Officials said at least seven of those businesses in Honolulu closed in 2019.
Defense attorneys said the crackdown is forcing some operators to go underground.
“Normally we’ve seen prostitution operations in the spas, the relaxation centers, primarily in Keeaumoku, Kapiolani and Waikiki areas,” said lawyer Myles Breiner.
“But because of the enforcement efforts of the Prosecutor’s Office, it’s pushing the operators into residential areas.”